THE PARIS AGREEMENT- Focus on Climate change

THE PARIS AGREEMENT- Focus on Climate change

This Article is written by Anshumi Maloo, a student of Karnavati University, Gandhinagar. It includes all the details about The Paris agreement with a focus on climate change.

The central goal of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by limiting global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit temperature rise even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In addition, the agreement aims to strengthen countries’ ability to cope with the consequences of climate change, as well as aligning finance flows with a low-carbon, climate-resilient direction. To achieve these lofty goals, sufficient financial resources must be mobilized and provided, as well as a new technical system and enhanced capacity-building.[1]

The Paris Agreement established that the Kyoto Protocol, an earlier international treaty designed to curb the release of greenhouse gases, should be strengthened and replaced. It entered into force on 4 November 2016 and 195 countries have signed it and 190 have ratified it as of January 2021. Paris Agreement, Paris Agreement Complete Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as the Paris Climate Agreement or COP21, an international treaty to minimize the emissions of gases contributing to global warming was adopted in December 2015 by the city of Paris, France.[2]

Since it allowed each country to set its own pollution reduction goals and establish its own strategies for achieving them, the landmark agreement succeeded where previous attempts had failed. In addition, nations began to realise that addressing climate change has major socio-economic benefits as a result of the actions of local and regional governments, corporations, and others.

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Humans, ecosystems, and environments will all be affected by human-caused global warming. To save the World as we know it, we must band together and reduce pollution quickly and vigorously. The extreme risks of inaction have been illustrated in recent studies from international climate scientists and the US federal government.[3]

The difference between blowing past 1.5°C (2.7°F) warming and approaching or exceeding 2°C (3.6°F) warming is stark; the likelihood of heatwaves, flooding, ice-free Arctic summers, habitat destruction, and more rises every minute we do nothing.[4]

Stopping the climate crisis is vital for our collective survival, but no single nation can do it alone. The Paris Agreement is remarkable in terms of the near-unanimity of nations it has brought together on this issue, and it is the best way to ensure the global cooperation necessary to tackle climate change.

 

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BACKGROUND

The meeting was part of a phrase that dates back to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when countries initially joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty. Seeing the need to reinforce the reduction of pollution, countries implemented the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.[5]

Delegates decided to extend the Kyoto Protocol until 2020 at the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18), held in Doha, Qatar, in 2012. They also reaffirmed their commitment from COP17, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, to establish by 2015 a new, comprehensive, legally binding climate treaty that would require all nations, including major carbon emitters that do not comply with the Kyoto protocol.

The UN tasked countries to send proposals outlining how they planned to minimize greenhouse gas emissions in the lead-up to the Paris conference. Technically, such proposals were referred to as planned contributions decided nationally (INDCs). By 10 December 2015, 185 countries had submitted proposals by 2025 or 2030 to restrict or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014, the United States declared its intention to decrease its emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The country’s Clean Power Plan was to set limits on current and expected pollution from power plants to help achieve that objective. China, the nation with the highest overall greenhouse gas emissions, has set its goal of peaking its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and made the best possible attempt to peak early.[6]

India’s INDC acknowledged the complexities of poverty eradication while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Approximately 24 percent of the world’s electricity-free population (304 million) resides in India. The country intended, however, to “reduce its GDP emission intensity by 33 to 35 percent by 2030” compared to 2005 levels.

The United States played a crucial role in the development and negotiation of the Paris Agreement, which it signed in 2015. As a signatory to the deal, the United States agreed to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. After a new administration took power in 2017, the federal government declared its intention to withdraw from the deal, and on November 4, 2020, the United States became the first country to withdraw from the deal, as well as the only country that was not a party to it.[7]

The Paris Agreement, according to President Trump, would affect job growth, manufacturing, and industries such as coal, natural gas, steel, and cement. He expressed concern that America’s obligations were higher than China’s and India’s, and indicated that the US could renegotiate the contract.

 

NEGOTIATIONS AND AGREEMENT

The problem of moving funds from developing countries to LDCs was a big sticking point in the negotiations, as developed countries did not want to bear any of the costs. Furthermore, even if the countries’ obligations were met, temperatures were unlikely to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The agreement also agreed that LDCs needed to boost their economies and reduce poverty, rendering immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions impossible. As a result, it encouraged developing countries to step up their mitigation efforts and follow emission reduction or limitation goals, while emphasising the value of developed countries continuing to achieve their emission reduction targets.[8]

The Paris Agreement did not set any new funding goals, but it did state that developing countries should contribute financial resources to LDCs “in continuation of their current commitments under the Convention,” such as the COP16 pledge of $100 billion per year by 2020. This money was set aside to assist with both mitigation and adaptation efforts. Support from developing countries will likely come in the form of grants, supplies, and technological resources, among other items.

Cooperation, openness, flexibility, and frequent monitoring of progress toward achieving the INDCs were all emphasised in the text of the Paris Agreement. There was no process in place to ensure that the accord’s terms were implemented, but there was one in place to “promote compliance.” This will be done by a committee that would be “transparent, non-adversarial, and non-punitive.”[9]

From April 22, 2016, to April 21, 2017, the Paris Agreement was available for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, and it went into effect on November 4, 2016, after 55 countries responsible for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions ratified it.

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GOALS OF PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

1] The primary aim is to avoid global air temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with 1.5 degrees Celsius being a good recommendation. With this exact goal in place, the planet now has a budget for the amount of GHGs it will emit.[10]

2] Countries that sign and ratify the agreement develop their own strategies for reducing GHG emissions, known as nationally defined contributions (NDCs). This helps countries to decide their own best course of action individually, maintaining national sovereignty.

3] The agreement does, however, accept global disparities in the face of climate change. In terms of gross CO2 emissions, the United States, for example, bears the greatest burden. As a result, the agreement acknowledges the need for developed countries to help developing countries’ efforts to establish climate change policies in the absence of funds and economic incentives.[11]

4] Finally, the Agreement seeks to create a system for transparently monitoring and disclosing GHG emissions based on scientific goals, in order to prevent unseen “carbon leaks” into the atmosphere.

5] Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as soon as possible to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of the century, while acknowledging that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties.[12]

6] The Paris Agreement acknowledges the possibility of voluntary cooperation among Parties to allow for greater ambition, and it establishes standards for any cooperation that includes international transfer of mitigation outcomes, including environmental integrity, openness, and rigorous accounting.

7] In the form of the Agreement’s temperature target, the Paris Agreement defines a global goal on adaptation – improving adaptive capability, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change. Its goal is to substantially improve national adaptation efforts, including through financial assistance and international cooperation.[13]

8] The Paris Agreement acknowledges the importance of avoiding, mitigating, and resolving loss and damage caused by climate change’s adverse effects, such as severe weather events and slow-onset events, as well as the role of sustainable development in lowering the risk of loss and damage.

9] The agreement also specifies that the Convention’s Financial System, which includes the Green Climate Fund (GCF), will be used to execute the agreement. International collaboration on climate-safe technology creation and transition, as well as building capacity in developing countries, is also bolstered: The Agreement creates a technology structure, and capacity-building activities will be bolstered.[14]

10] The Paris Agreement relies on a comprehensive transparency and accounting structure to provide consistency on Parties’ conduct and assistance, while allowing for flexibility in their respective capabilities.

11] In 2023, and every 5 years afterwards, a “global stocktake” will evaluate mutual progress toward achieving the Agreement’s aim in a systematic and facilitative manner. It will be based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence and a long-term global target.

 

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PITFALLS OF PARIS AGREEMENT

1] The Paris Agreement’s cap won’t cover all countries and locations from climate change’s extreme consequences. Climate goals do not go far enough to protect people living in vulnerable climates near deserts, such as the Sahel region of Africa.[15]

2] So far, countries have only made voluntary promises (nationally announced contributions) to maintain air temperatures below 2.7-3.0 degrees Celsius, which is nowhere near the 1.5 degree Celsius “comfort zone.”

3] Efforts to quantify, track, and control GHGs are not universal, and they which fall short of the agreement’s specified objective of transparency.

4]The fossil fuel industry and its allies (gas-powered vehicles, fossil-fuel-powered infrastructure, and so on) will almost certainly suffer repercussions as fossil fuels are phased out. It’s important to remember, though, that this move isn’t purely due to the Paris Agreement. The cost of renewable energy has sunk below that of fossil fuels, creating an opportunity for developers to invest.[16]

ACHIEVED SO FAR

While massive increases in climate change action are needed to fulfill the Paris Agreement’s targets, the years since its entry into force have already sparked low-carbon solutions and new markets. Carbon neutrality goals are being set by a growing number of nations, territories, towns, and businesses. Zero-carbon technologies are becoming more competitive in all economic sectors, accounting for 25% of overall emissions.

This pattern is most evident in the power and transportation industries, and it has opened up a slew of new business opportunities for those who get in early. By 2030, zero-carbon technologies could be competitive in industries that account for more than 70% of global emissions.[17]

[1] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement/key-aspects-of-the-paris-agreement

[2] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Paris-Agreement-2015

[3] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

[4] https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/paris-climate-agreement

[5] https://www.wri.org/faqs-about-how-paris-agreement-enters-force

[6] https://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/07/12/countries-yet-ratify-paris-agreement

[7] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-convention/what-is-the-united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

[8] Supra 1

[9] https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/

[10] https://healthyhumanlife.com/blogs/news/paris-agreement-pros-and-cons

[11] https://www.npr.org/2017/05/18/528998592/energy-companies-urge-trump-to-remain-in-paris-climate-agreement

[12] https://www.npr.org/2017/05/18/528998592/energy-companies-urge-trump-to-remain-in-paris-climate-agreement

[13] https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

[14] https://www.americaspledgeonclimate.com/

[15] Supra 4

[16] https://www.americaspledgeonclimate.com/

[17] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

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